1821 Info 3b for Caleb Crompton
The origins of William Henry Cox Snr, husband of Elizabeth Emily Milner

William Henry COX's parents

John Cox ...... m.14may1836 ...... Mary Ann Warren
b......1810     |                  b......1816
d.05mar1863     |                  d.29oct1901
William Henry Cox              Francis Cox ... m......1866 ... Eliza Ann Louisa Caroline Tippin
b......1833                    b...dec1843
c.10apr1842                                         c.24aug1846 Woolwich
d.14aug1882 Ballarat Hospital  d.28may1925 Dowling Forest      b.13jun1939

There is no record of their births or marriage in IGI. However, the 1841 census shows:

1841 Census Sun/Mon  6/7 June 1841
Source:   FHL Film PRO Ref HO107
          Piece  Folio  Page 
Dwelling: Brook Street
Place:    Tavistock, Devon
Name      Age Occupation  Whether born in the County
John Cox  30  Miner       Yes
Mary Cox  25              Yes

There were only two people in the house at the time of the census, suggesting that William Henry was the eldest living child.

Source: GRO Births
William Cox   1st Quarter 1842   Tavistock vol.9 page  40

Francis Cox   4th Quarter 1843   Tavistock vol.9 page 479

At the 1841 census John COX, who lived at Brook Street, Tavistock, Devon, gave his occupation as a miner. The following short history of Tavistock sets his early life into some context.

After its ecclesiastical foundation Tavistock eventually passed into the hands of the Dukes of Bedford, who took over the social and economic responsibilities for the town and the area. The local mining benefited the town through the building, in 1817, of the canal and the use of the Duke of Bedford’s profits to rebuild the town. As a booming mining town Tavistock’s economic fortunes reflected the growth of the population from 3420 in the 1841 census to 8912 in 1861, with additional men walking in from the surrounding villages to the expanding copper mines.

1821info3b, sheet 2
In the mid-nineteenth century the Crelake was the only mine, within the present town boundary, producing copper and lead. Today its pit head have now been replaced by a modern industrial estate and the underground workings are now below Tavistock College. Richer workings were to be found at the Mary Tavy, north-east to the town, which produced ore from the eighteenth century. Substantial copper reserves were found in 1844 when the biggest mine, the Devon Great Consol, over looking the Tamar River at Blanchdown, opened and employed 1200 men. In 1850 this mine alone produced one third of the world’s copper and, later, half the world’s tin.

However the rapid urban growth, of the first half of the 18th century, brought social problems associated with overcrowded houses and infant mortality. Drunkenness was rife and illegitimacy levels were high.
1906 map of Tavistock, showing Brook Street  44Kb-gif
Brook Street today, having been redeveloped, shows no evidence of miner’s cottages nor of the Victorian redevelopment which ends at Duke Street, where the road narrows and enters Brook Street. Brook Street marked the physical feature of Millbrook, which ran to the north in an open channel to the original Vigo Bridge, and lead to a mill and the boundary of the important Tavistock Iron Works. Two non-conformist chapels, both now demolished, were built in the street.

Top right: Tavistock 1906, showing Brook Street

Bottom right: Brook Street 1997
Brook Street, Tavistock  40Kb-jpg

The mining industry declined from its peak in 1861 to 1911, when employment dropped to 4392 and the Duke of Bedford sold the majority of his interests in the town.

What made John COX immigrate to Australia is unknown. Historical accounts suggest that employment in Tavistock was at its highest, though the social conditions of Brook Street appear to have been squalid. With a growing family it is possible that he was enticed, by advertisements in local papers or wandering shipping company’s agents, to take his experience and skills to the new goldfields. Cantwell comments, of Tavistock, that ‘one of its chief exports is of he-men for the less civilised parts of the Empire. … The wilder parts of Australia staved off boredom for a time.’


1821info3b, sheet 3

William Henry COX's birth

At the time of William Henry's baptism in 1842 the family was living in Brook Street, Tavistock, Devon.

Birth Date:     10 Apr 1842
Birth Place:    Tavistock, Devon, England
Death Date:     14 Aug 1882
Death Place:    Mount Jeffcott (Ballarat), Vic.
Occupation:     Farmer

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